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Erik A. Wikstrom, Sajad Bagherian, Nicole B. Cordero and Kyeongtak Song

Clinical Scenario: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is a complex musculoskeletal condition that results in sensorimotor and mechanical alterations. Manual therapies, such as ankle joint mobilizations, are known to improve clinician-oriented outcomes like dorsiflexion range of motion, but their impact on patient-reported outcomes remains less clear. Focused Clinical Question: Do anterior-to-posterior ankle joint mobilizations improve patient-reported outcomes in patients with chronic ankle instability? Summary of Key Findings: Three studies (2 randomized controlled trials and 1 prospective cohort) quantified the effect of at least 2 weeks of anterior-to-posterior ankle joint mobilizations on improving patient-reported outcomes immediately after the intervention and at a follow-up assessment. All 3 studies demonstrated significant improvements in at least 1 patient-reported outcome immediately after the intervention and at the follow-up assessment. Clinical Bottom Line: At least 2 weeks of ankle joint mobilization improves patient-reported outcomes in patients with chronic ankle instability, and these benefits are retained for at least a week following the termination of the intervention. Strength of Recommendation: Strength of recommendation is grade A due to consistent good-quality patient-oriented evidence.

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Sajad Bagherian, Khodayar Ghasempoor, Nader Rahnama and Erik A. Wikstrom

Context: Preparticipation examinations are the standard approach for assessing poor movement quality that would increase musculoskeletal injury risk. However, little is known about how core stability influences functional movement patterns. Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effect of an 8-week core stability program on functional movement patterns in college athletes. The secondary purpose was to determine if the core stability training program would be more effective in those with worse movement quality (ie, ≤14 baseline functional movement screen [FMS] score). Design: Quasi-experimental design. Setting: Athletic training facility. Participants: One-hundred college athletes. Main Outcome Measures: Functional movement patterns included the FMS, lateral step-down, and Y balance test and were assessed before and after the 8-week program. Intervention: Participants were placed into one of the 2 groups: intervention and control. The intervention group was required to complete a core stability training program that met 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Results: Significant group × time interactions demonstrated improvements in FMS, lateral step-down, and Y balance test scores in the experimental group relative to the control group (P < .001). Independent sample t tests demonstrate that change scores were larger (greater improvement) for the FMS total score and hurdle step (P < .001) in athletes with worse movement quality. Conclusions: An 8-week core stability training program enhances functional movement patterns and dynamic postural control in college athletes. The benefits are more pronounced in college athletes with poor movement quality.

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Erik A. Wikstrom, Sajad Bagherian, Gary Allen and Kyeongtak Song

Clinical Scenario: Balance impairment is common in patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI), especially during dynamic tasks. Manual therapies, such as ankle joint mobilizations are known to improve clinician-oriented outcomes such as dorsiflexion range of motion, but their impact on sensorimotor outcomes such as dynamic postural control and the retention of benefits remains less clear. Focused Clinical Question: Do anterior-to-posterior ankle joint mobilizations improve dynamic postural control in patients with CAI relative to a control condition and are those benefits retained after termination of the treatment? Summary of Key Findings: Three studies quantified the immediate effect and two studies quantified the retained benefit of anterior-to-posterior ankle joint mobilizations on improving Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) reach distances. Two studies demonstrated large immediate improvements in SEBT reach distances and those same investigations found that those large improvements were retained. Clinical Bottom Line: Ankle joint mobilization appears to improve SEBT reach distances and those improvements are retained. Strength of Recommendation: Strength of recommendation is a B due to inconsistent moderate-quality patient-oriented evidence.

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Sajad Bagherian, Nader Rahnama, Erik A. Wikstrom, Micheal A. Clark and Faroogh Rostami

Sensorimotor function is impaired in chronic ankle instability (CAI) patients. CAI patients have an increased sensitivity to fatigue relative to controls. Few investigations have quantified functional movement scores in CAI patients or the effect of fatigue on such scores. Therefore, we characterized functional movement scores before and after fatigue in 40 collegiate athletes with CAI. Three movement patterns (double-limb squat, double-limb squat with heel lift, and single-limb squat) were completed before and after fatigue and scored using Fusionetics®. All Fusionetics scores were higher (worse) after fatigue. The results demonstrate that functional movement scores were sensitive to fatigue.